The Library of History

Page 51

Page 51 The Egyptians further say, That Melampodes brought into Greece the Rites and Solemnities of Bacchus, and the fabulous Story of Saturn and the Titans, and the intire History of the Sufferings of the Gods out of Egypt. And they say that Dedalus imitated the Labyrinth there, which remains to this very Day, built at first by Mendes, or (as some report) by King Marus, many Years before the Reign of Minos. They affirm likewise, that the ancient Statues of Egypt are of the same size and proportion with those set up by Dedalus in Greece; and that the stately Porch of Vulcan in Memphis, was the handy-work of Dedalus, and that he was in such high Esteem among them, that they plac'd his Statue of Wood (made by his own Hands) in the Temple; whom at length for his Ingenuity and excellent Inventions, they honour'd as a God; for in one of the Islands belonging to Memphis, a Temple dedicated to Dedalus is resorted unto by the Inhabitants at this day.

That Homer came into Egypt, amongst other Arguments, they endeavour to prove it especially by the Potion Helen gave Telemachus (in the Story of Menelaus) to cause him to forget all his Sorrows past. For the Poet seems to have made an exact Experiment of the Potion Nepenthes, which he says Helen receiv'd from Polymnestes the Wife of Thonus, and brought it from Thebes in Egypt; and indeed in that City even at this Day, the Women use this Medicine with good success: And they say, that in ancient Times, the Medicine for the Cure of Anger and Sorrow, was only to be found among the Diopolitans; Thebes and Diospolis being by them affirm'd to be one and the same City. And that Venus from an ancient Tradition, is call'd by the Inhabitants, Golden Venus; and that there is a Field so call'd, within the Liberties of Memphis: And that Homer deriv'd from Egypt his Story of the Embraces between Jupiter and Juno, and their Travelling into Ethiopia; because the Egyptians every Year carry Jupiter's Tabernacle over the River into Africa, and a few Days after bring it back again, as if the God had return'd out of Ethiopia: And that the Fiction of the Nuptials of these Two Deities was taken from the Solemnization of their Festivals, at which time both their Tabernacles adorn'd with all sorts of Flowers, are carry'd by the Priests to the Top of a Mountain. To these they add, that Lycurgus, Solon, and Plato borrow'd from Egypt many of those Laws which they establish'd in their several Commonwealths. And that Pythagoras learnt his mysterious and sacred Expressions, the Art of Geometry, Arithmetick, and Transmigration of Souls, in Egypt. They are of Opinion likewise, that Democrates was Five Years in Egypt, and in that time much improv'd himself in the Art of Astrology. So they say, thet Oenopides by his familiar Converse with the Priests and Astrologers, amongst other Advantages, gain'd especially the Knowledge of the Periodical Motion of the Sun; and came to know that his Course is contrary to that of the Stars: And that Eudoxus likewise by studying Astrology in Egypt, left many useful Monuments of his Art behind him in Greece, for which his Name was famous. Lastly, they say that the most famous Statuaries of ancient Time liv'd amongst them for some time, as Telecles and Theodorus, the Sons of Rhaecus, who made the Statue of Apollo Pythius in Samos; for its said, that one half of this Statue was made by Telecles in Samos, and the other part was finish'd by Theodorus in Ephesus; and that there was such an exact Symmetry of Parts, that the whole seemed to be the Work of one and the same hand: Which Art (they say) the Grecians were not at all acquainted with, but that it was in frequent use among the Egyptians. For with them the exact Cut of a Statue is not judg'd of by the Eye and Fancy (as it is by the Greeks) but after that they have cut out the Stone, and wrought every part by it self, then they measure the exact proportion of the whole, from the least Stone to the greatest. For they divide the whole Body into One and Twenty Parts, and One Fourth, which makes up the Symmetry and intire proportion. Upon which, after the Workmen have agreed among themselves of the bigness of the Statue, they go away, and every one of them carve their several Parts so exactly, according to their just Proportions, that the singular skill of these Workmen is wonderful and amazing. And thus the Statue in Sainos which (according to the Art and Skill in Egypt) was cut in Two from the Head to the Privities exactly in the middle, yet notwithstanding was equally proportion'd in every part. And they say, that it exactly resembles the Statues in Egypt, having its Hands stretcht out, and its Thighs in a walking Posture. But we have

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books